Event-Driven SOA: A Better Way to SOA

Event-Driven SOA: A Better Way to SOA
Event-Driven SOA:
A Better Way to SOA

Experts agree that service-
oriented architecture (SOA) is the
right approach for new enterprise
architecture development. And
chances are that your company has
already started on the path towards
SOA. But are you implementing
the right SOA for the long term?
You may not be if your SOA
implementation doesn’t support
event processing.
Event-Driven SOA: A Better Way to SOA
2   E v e n t- D r i v e n S O A : A B e t t e r W ay t o S O A


        1 Event-Driven SOA :
             A Foundation for the Future.............................................3

        2 SOA and Event Processing –
             Putting It All Together........................................................8

        3 Conclusion ..............................................................................9

        4 About TIBCO . ..........................................................................10
Event-Driven SOA: A Better Way to SOA
3   E v e n t- D r i v e n S O A : A B e t t e r W ay t o S O A

    1. Event-Driven SOA : A Foundation for
       the Future
    SOA has gained acceptance as a way to unlock the business value of a company’s
    IT infrastructure. SOA permits architects to “break down” monolithic applications
    into discrete services that can be reused in a variety of applications. By exposing
    information and transactions as services in an abstracted, standards-based way, an
    SOA provides a foundation for new classes of business applications – “composite”
    applications that are assembled from a mix of existing and new service logic as
    opposed to being built entirely from scratch. It also enables organizations to
    deploy new business services faster, at lower cost.

    However, an SOA infrastructure doesn’t address all the capabilities needed to
    respond to the dynamics of real-time business. Consider the following scenario,
    one that probably plays out with slight differences in a variety of industries.

    A telecommunications firm targets a particular consumer to make the switch to
    their service, promising a new model of phone and rate plan. The promotion
    proves a resounding success, and the particular customer gets swayed to change
    services by a telephone customer service representative.

    The core business operation, in this example, is a triumph of the SOA application
    model. Services exposed trends in a data warehouse about which prospects would
    be most susceptible to a change in service. Services made the functional
    integration possible that inserted the customer name, telephone number, and
    other information into a CRM/call center application. Another service accessed a
    service contract and processed it with a billing system. And finally, an order
    process was invoked that used services to invoke the inventory/warehouse
    actions and logistics processes to send the new phone and rate plan contract to
    the customer.

    However, this story is not over yet. It turns out this promotion is so successful that
    the particular brand of phone is being sold off the shelves and inventories are
    running low. By the time this particular order goes through, the phone is gone from
    the warehouses. The phone isn’t shipped. The order process gets “stuck” and
    sends an alarm that the shipment hasn’t been completed. But it’s too late. By the
    time the customer service representative can contact the customer about the delay
    or about ordering a different phone, the customer has already lost faith.
4                             E v e n t- D r i v e n S O A : A B e t t e r W ay t o S O A

Figure 1.
An SOA sets up a
successful promotion, but
something is missing.

                              He’s decided to take up an offer from his original provider on a new service contract
                              and phone.

                              What just happened? Was this failure related to SOA? No, it’s an example of an
                              enterprise that can’t sense and rapidly respond to fast moving business events and
                              situations. The events that would indicate a situation such as “phone being out of
                              stock” were lost in an “event cloud.” This example points to the need for SOA to
Figure 2.                     be driven by situational business events.
Adding complex event
processing (CEP) allows the
business to dynamically
respond to time-sensitive
business situations.

                              A Short Course in SOA
                              In order to understand the business pitfall described above, it is necessary to
                              understand what an SOA is and is not. An SOA is an abstract distributed
                              architecture that is open and available to anyone or any application on the network
                              with proper security authorizations. Data and functionality are exposed as
                              reusable services described using a standardsbased format (WSDL, SOAP, XML)
                              and transport (HTTP, JMS) that can be used by other applications. This includes, if
                              privacy concerns are properly addressed, items such as customer phone numbers
                              and addresses or buying trends by categories of users. Perhaps one of the biggest
5   E v e n t- D r i v e n S O A : A B e t t e r W ay t o S O A

    advantages is that this information transaction is shared out of its proprietary silo
    – be it an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, a customer database, or a
    desktop application.

    Request / Reply
    An SOA based on web services (WS) uses a classic request/reply type of message
    exchange pattern as a form of communication. There is a service and consumers of
    the service who have the right to access the service. The consumer requests access
    and is granted the information or processing capability of that particular service,
    at that particular time. The relationship between the service and the consumer is
    generally loosely coupled yet synchronous due to the nature of request/reply. It is
    a passive, demand-based infrastructure.

    For most WS applications companies generally use service orchestration. WS
    orchestration is now a core capability of most SOA toolsets and architectures.
    Service orchestration is the graphical wiring of a set of services to automate
    system-to-system information processing. For example, if the business objective is
    to get customer information into a customer relationship management (CRM)
    system, a process may need to access a data warehouse with customer profile
    information, billing information, and address/ phone type information and insert
    it into the CRM application. There may be some data transformation and some
    simple rules used for processing. Generally, this process is kicked off by an event,
    which then kicks off a string of request/reply interactions. It’s event based, but
    based on explicit procedures, in that an event kicks off a prescribed hardcoded
    procedure, rather than declarative where a set of business goals is determined and
    the process goes out and works to achieve the goal based on a set of facts.

    The business events that trigger an orchestrated business process, or invoke a web
    service, are generally not predictable and are not requested. An event is triggered,
    in some cases, by a random business activity. In many cases, these classes of
    events are recorded within an application database.

    ESB: Distributing Events in the Enterprise
    An enterprise service bus (ESB) is an accepted solution to the problem of a rigidly
    orchestrated SOA infrastructure. An ESB is generally the way service requests
    move on an SOA as messages. An ESB guarantees that the message, whatever it
    may be (the request to see customer data, the actual data, etc…), gets delivered
    from consumer to service or vice versa. It also provides transaction-grade delivery
6   E v e n t- D r i v e n S O A : A B e t t e r W ay t o S O A

    of messages to/from software components that are not web services –
    for example, Java objects.

    The publish/subscribe and notification services in many messaging products
    ensure that the ESB can handle events, even unexpected events, if they are
    applied properly. With proper planning, an ESB can be a common foundational
    element for SOA and event processing.

    Users need to process events and respond and adapt to situations. In most cases,
    this does not happen. The result is that businesses cannot detect business events
    and situations, including rapidly occurring opportunities or threats. This is an
    emerging area in business optimization often referred to as complex event
    processing (CEP). We will discuss CEP in more detail later in this paper.

    Why Events Matter

    What’s a Business Event?
    A business event is any notable business activity that affects your business. In an
    eventdriven SOA, an event is created and recorded in your software infrastructure,
    either directly or indirectly, and has some type of influence over your business.

    Depending on the size of your business, there are hundreds to millions of notable
    events that occur on a daily basis. A service representative inputs a new address
    for a customer; a network device emits a warning message that the temperature
    is too high; a snowstorm occurs in one region of the country causing employees
    to be late; a pallet of goods passes through an RFID reader in another portion of
    the country. These are all business events, and somehow these events affect the
    operations of a company. Some business events have a negative impact on a
    business, some have a positive impact, some will be an opportunity, and others
    may be unremarkable.

    All businesses are event driven. In fact, the entire world is event driven!

    Consider the pallet of goods that passes through an RFID reader in a warehouse
    on the East Coast. Most IT managers will have a system in place that sends that
    information to an inventory tracking application that records exactly what quantity
    of that product is now available in that warehouse. The systems may also send
    information to a logistics application to confirm the order was received. It may even
7   E v e n t- D r i v e n S O A : A B e t t e r W ay t o S O A

    match that product description to the original purchase order to confirm what was
    ordered was delivered. These are all business applications that are either enabled
    or made much easier by an SOA. So far so good, but that’s not the whole story.

    Taken in context, the shipment of this pallet of products is actually bad news, since
    the product is piling up in a warehouse on the East Coast, while sales are booming
    in the Midwest due to an aggressive set of promotions in that region. Responding
    to this situation over the phone may be problematic since key employees are not in
    the office due to a snowstorm in one region of the country.

    This is an example of events blindsiding a business in retail. Every industry is driven
    by events. Businesses spend most of their time dealing with event-driven
    processes. Misdirected resources, upset customers, fraud, theft, sudden increases
    in sales, and every other kind of situation imaginable demonstrate how events
    affect businesses.

    What Is Complex Event Processing?
    “Complex event processing is a new technology for extracting information from
    messagebased systems.”1

    Many observers believe that the capability to process complex events is required
    for businesses to respond to rapidly changing business scenarios and situations.

    A complex event processing (CEP) system enables organizations to process
    distributed business events and identify opportunities or threats. Business events
    may be tracked individually, such as a stream of stock trades, or correlated with
    other events, producing derived or “complex” events often called “situations.”

    Making sense of these business events requires event processing technology and
    domain expertise. In general, users must understand and create business models
    that model the dependencies and relationships within an event stream between
    event objects and in the context of historical information.

    Events and trends related to business events need to be mapped and correlated
    against historical business models. Mapping events against business models forms
    the basis of recognizing patterns that may be occurring. Rules play an important
    part in the development of business models as well as in the correlation between
    business events and business models. For businesses, the important part of event
    1 David C. Luckham and Brian Frasca, “Complex Event Processing in Distributed Systems”
8                          E v e n t- D r i v e n S O A : A B e t t e r W ay t o S O A

Figure 3.
A CEP system enables
organizations to process
events for trends and
patterns and predict
the impact of identified

                           processing is the ability to rapidly respond to negative situations or take advantage
                           of emerging opportunities.

                           To summarize, event processing, and in particular CEP, provides the capability for
                           businesses to track, trace, and correlate events; to process events for trends and
                           patterns; and, finally, to predict the impact of identified situations. Rapid action can
                           then be taken to prevent or minimize damage from threats to businesses – such
                           as a customer not receiving a product on time resulting in a cancelled order. The
                           same is true on the upside. A positive situation can be capitalized upon rapidly and
                           effectively –such as an emerging trading pattern or customer up-sell opportunity.
                           Situations can also be analyzed to improve the underlying business processes and
                           applications that are the “DNA” of business operations.

                           2. SOA and Event Processing – Putting It
                              All Together
                           SOA and event processing are both required for an optimized business and, when
                           combined, can create extreme value to business operations. SOA and event
                           processing also help expose business information that is otherwise locked in
                           application silos and databases.

                           Services and SOA are used to help unlock information and IT processes so they are
                           available to be leveraged in other applications and to build new composite
                           applications. Events are the nervous system of the enterprise and, when leveraged
                           by an SOA, can disseminate business events to all authorized parties in the
9   E v e n t- D r i v e n S O A : A B e t t e r W ay t o S O A

    extended enterprise and ecosystem of today’s modern businesses. CEP extracts
    and creates value by identifying threats and opportunities from distributed
    enterprise events.

    On a functional level, SOA and events need each other. SOA can profit from events
    when it comes time to build an actual event-driven application, large or small. For
    example, an event can trigger the launching of a service or string of services to
    solve a business problem. Modeling event-processing as services is also
    important because events and CEP applications benefit from the business
    objectives of an SOA. In fact, services can be used in an event-driven
    application at practically every functional step in the architecture. In a similar
    manner, an SOA powered with events facilitates agile, adaptive business processes
    that can respond to ever changing opportunities and threats. The outcome of a
    business service or orchestration of services is often another business event.

    3. Conclusion
    To return to the original question: Are you implementing the right SOA for the long
    term? If you’re implementing an ESB that supports event processing and
    messaging for any eventdriven communication, the answer is yes. If you’re not
    implementing an ESB – for example, if you’re implementing an SOA using
    application servers, integration brokers, and code – the answer is no. You need
    an ESB.

    This brings up the next question: When do you need CEP? The best strategy is
    to ask that question now and identify the first CEP projects in the same way you
    identified your first projects for SOA. Think about any area of the business where
    tracking the state of a process or handling unexpected events adds significant
    business value.
4. About TIBCO
                                                                           TIBCO Software Inc. (NASDAQ: TIBX) is a provider of infrastructure software
                                                                           for companies to use on-premise or as part of cloud computing environments.
                                                                           Whether it’s optimizing claims, processing trades, cross-selling products based
                                                                           on real-time customer behavior, or averting a crisis before it happens, TIBCO
                                                                           provides companies the two-second advantageTM – the ability to capture the
                                                                           right information at the right time and act on it preemptively for a competitive
                                                                           advantage. More than 4,000 customers worldwide rely on TIBCO to manage
                                                                           information, decisions, processes and applications in real time. Learn more at

                                                                           Global Headquarters                                     Tel: +1 650-846-1000                                  www.tibco.com
                                                                           3303 Hillview Avenue                                         +1 800-420-8450
                                                                           Palo Alto, CA 94304                                     Fax: +1 650-846-1005

©2011 TIBCO, TIBCO Software, and The Two-Second Advantage are trademarks or registered trademarks of TIBCO Software Inc. and its subsidiaries in the United States and/or other countries.
All other product and company names and marks mentioned in this document are the property of their respective owners and are mentioned for identification purposes only.
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